“The fact that no decision was made on the commencement of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia at the meeting of the relative ministers of the European Union’s member states on Tuesday in Luxembourg goes against the interests of the EU, Central Europe and Hungary”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared.

At his press conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade reported on the fact that the countries of Central Europe represented an extremely strong and unified position in favour of the enlargement, but no agreement was reached because of the resistance of certain western member states. “There was no physical, legal or other tangible obstacle to our coming to a decision on the commencement of accession negotiations today”, said the Minister, according to whom it is a deceitful argument that there was insufficient information and time; the issue depended solely on political will. Mr. Szijjártó said it was shameful that “tactical games” had been played with the timing, because in his opinion it is obvious that the publication of the European Commission’s expansion package had been purposefully delayed to enable them to say that there wasn’t enough time left until today’s session to come to a decision.

“They partly cited the lack of a parliamentary decision and partly the lack of time, and although there were also one or two tangible arguments, for instance with relation to organised crime and corruption, these are not acceptable in view of the fact that the commencement of negotiations does not yet mean the accession of the given countries, for which suitable conditions indeed do not yet exist”, he pointed out. He underlined the fact that the decision is unfavourable from a security, competitiveness and economic perspective alike, and the lack of positive feedback undermines the credibility of the EU’s enlargement policy and of governments that are open to integration.

Mr. Szijjártó told reporters that at the meetings of EU foreign ministers, while mentioning Russia, the Arab monarchies surrounding the Persian Gulf, and China, the “crying and complaining” often concerns the fact that external influence attempts are going on in the Western Balkans, whereas it depends solely on the EU that the influence of others is increasing rather than its own influence. He highlighted the fact that regardless, Hungary will continue to do everything possible to assist the region in its integration process.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)